hu·​la | \ ˈhü-lə How to pronounce hula (audio) \
variants: or less commonly hula-hula \ ˌhü-​lə-​ˈhü-​lə How to pronounce hula (audio) \

Definition of hula

: a sinuous Polynesian dance characterized by rhythmic movement of the hips and mimetic gestures with the hands and often accompanied by chants and rhythmic drumming

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A sinuous Polynesian dance, the hula combines undulating movement of the hips and mimetic hand gestures. The dance is often accompanied by chants, drumming, and music played on instruments such as the ukulele. Originally a religious dance performed to praise the chiefs, contemporary hulas tell a story or describe a place, and are danced exclusively by women. The costume typically includes a raffia skirt with a lei (garland) around the neck.

Examples of hula in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Eric and Katie Premo of Pewaukee were watching their two kids do hula-hoops in the Titletown District before the event. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12 Aug. 2021 Her bike rests by the store – two yellow cat litter containers strapped on as makeshift saddlebags, her ukulele and a foldable hula hoop secured to the front frame. Doug Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Aug. 2021 Indoor real-sand beach, boat drinks, pails of beer, tropical food, music, hula dancing, silent disco, sand volleyball, coconut bowling, limbo contests and more. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 10 Aug. 2021 The first part is an interactive Polynesian dance and hula show where the kids will get to have some fun and do that. Annie Alleman,, 28 July 2021 The luau includes Happy Hour with appetizers, drinks, dinner and entertainment including a Hawaiian-style band, fire performers, hula dancers, drummers and more. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 July 2021 With courage, strength and the history of Hawai’i in every step of the hula dance, Ho’onani becomes the one the children all look up to. NBC News, 27 May 2021 The Irving Mall will host a celebration from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday featuring K-pop performers, hula dancers and more. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, 20 May 2021 Clio participated in a painting activity, and the family also enjoyed the disc golf station, the magic show and the hula-hooping setup. Talia Soglin,, 4 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hula.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hula

1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hula


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Last Updated

15 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hula.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for hula



English Language Learners Definition of hula

: a Hawaiian dance that has flowing hand and hip movements

More from Merriam-Webster on hula Encyclopedia article about hula


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